M4 Engineering Partner with Air Force at Florida Center for Advanced Aero-Propulsion

By David Hodges for the Tallahassee Democrat

FSU wind tunnel marks new era

Aerospace engineering research in Tallahassee entered the supersonic range Monday with the unveiling of a wind tunnel at Innovation Park that is the “crown jewel” of the Florida Center for Advanced Aero-Propulsion.

Housed in its own specially designed room in FSU’s Aero-Propulsion, Mechatronics and Energy Building, the new polysonic wind tunnel is capable of speeds from Mach 0.2 to 5 — up to five times the speed of sound.

Five years in the making, the building and its facilities provide a testing platform for aircraft and aerospace companies to do research on new designs and to solve some of the problems they encounter in producing quieter, more efficient jets. Some have already signed research agreements for the testing they need and more work is on the way, said associate professor Rajan Kumar. Looking ahead, “the facility is going to be continuously busy.”

“The first test we are going to do is for the Air Force along with the help of M4 Engineering – a company in California.” – Florida State University Associate Professor, Dr. Rajan Kumar

At the same time, students have the opportunity to perfect their research skills and expand the talent base needed to support Florida’s aviation and aerospace industry, which ranks fourth largest in the U.S. According to Enterprise Florida, the industry employs some 83,000 Floridians at more than 1,800 companies, with a total annual payroll of nearly $5 billion.

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